Starting May 1, 2017, the City of Vancouver will require significant changes to all new rezoned buildings and sites.  Instead of just LEED requirements, the city will now require energy performance limits for most rezoned buildings and sites.  

Historically, rezoning requirements are adopted into the next building code, so this is a good prediction of what energy requirements will become in the near future.

So what are energy performance limits?

The City of Vancouver has defined three types of performance limits in their new bulletin:

  1. TEUI – Total Energy Use Intensity – This is how much total energy a building uses.
  2. TEDI – Thermal Energy Demand Intensity – This is the amount of heat needed to keep a building warm.  This reflects the building envelope performance.
  3. GHGI – Greenhouse Gas Intensity – This is the amount of emissions produced by a building.  It will affect the type of fuel you can use to heat a building.

The table below, from the bulletin, gives an example of the performance limits that are required:

This is drastic change from the previous requirement of having a certain energy reduction below an ASHRAE 90.1-2010 reference building.  Under ASHRAE 90.1, the code was far more restrictive because a different mechanical system for the reference building would be selected, depending on the proposed HVAC system.  In general, ASHRAE 90.1 would favour gas-fired heating and heat pump heating, rather than electric heating.

Under the new requirements, only the overall energy use of the building is considered, and the building designer is given more flexibility in terms of what type of building system or envelope to use.

For building owners, developers, and general contractors, it is advantageous to select the delivery method that will allow the greatest innovation.  The new requirements will inevitably have cost implications, so it is important to use a delivery method that will allow the designer the greatest amount of innovation to keep costs within budget.

Traditionally, the bid/spec delivery method has been the most popular, but it does not allow much innovation, as the cost is only established after the design drawings are complete.

In contrast, design/build is particularly innovative because it allows the cost to be defined after only the initial drawings are completed.

One thing is certain;  In the next 5 years, the changes to the City of Vancouver’s rezoning bylaws will have a notable impact on how new buildings are constructed.

This article is based in part on BC Comfort’s BUILDEX Session “Mechanical Mega Trends for 2017”.


If you are interested in having this session presented in your office, please contact BC Comfort at 604-439-3344.